October 19, 2009 Ration
I Kings 3:9
Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?
This is the prayer of Solomon that greatly pleased the Lord. You may not have been given a governing position over the body, artist, but you are a servant of the Lord among His people just the same. For what do you ask of the Lord, then, for the position He has put you in?
The Lord has put artists in the body for a particular purpose and role. Solomons purpose was to serve and his role was to govern. What is your purpose, artist? If the answer that comes to mind is simply: to make art, you are attempting to answer a different question much further down the line. Is not your purpose in the body to serve the body? Solomons purpose in the body was to serve them by playing the role of the one who governs them. How he felt the weight of this position as a young man (3:7). Artist, your purpose in the body is to serve them by playing the role of the artist and artisan.
At times this may be the prophet, at others it is the healer. At times this may be the teacher, at others it is the observer. At times it is to articulate for others, and at times it is to ask on behalf of others. There are many roles that the artist will play, but always they are to be played to serve. Self-service truly serves no one. Who can play this role of the artist in the body effectively?
Our request of God should be the same as Solomons: O Lord, give your servants an understanding mind to serve your people, that we may discern between what is good and what is evil, for who is able to truly serve, and not lead astray, this your great people?
Solomon, as he understood that his role was as governor, asked the Lord for an understanding mind SO THAT he might discern between good and evil. An undiscerning mind will lead people astray if it is tuned to pleasure only, or mostly. We see Solomon relax his own judgment later on, which proves to destroy his kingdom. Good and evil can both be pleasurable, but upholding the pleasure in what is evil will not truly serve the body, though they crave it.
In our role as artists, we need an understanding mind to first discern the themes accurately. Then we need an understanding mind to disentangle the themes. An understanding mind will be needed to consider and reason before it can determine and prescribe. Then comes the to make part: articulation.
Artists, we need an understanding mind so that we might better serve the body as the Lord has put us in the body to serve them in the role of the artist and artisan.
© 2009 The Gaius Project